Yesterday proved beyond all doubt I’m that my organisational skills both suck and blow and that I’m shockingly naive about world travel. If sit down and apply myself to the situation, I become distracted by the phone or the fridge or the microcosms of dust caught in a shaft of sunlight, where I’ll watch them tumble through the air, colliding and spiralling and…
See? There are eight days to go and the twinkling originality of the headline has faded; it’s almost time to walk the walk and I’ve barely learnt how to crawl.
The day started well enough – a fun and bouncy studio interview with Neil Green and Diane Youdale at BBC Tees, a local radio station covering Teesside, County Durham and North Yorkshire (and my home town of Darlington). Three mildly distracting facts: 1) I was once Neil’s boss; 2) Diane was once Jet in the original TV show Gladiators; 3) despite yesterday been the first time we’ve met, I’ve visited Diane’s house before, and used her bathroom. As far as I know, the authorities are not aware.
As is the norm, I needed to switch my mobile off before going into a live radio studio. I had a phone interview with a Spanish radio station immediately afterwards, so I reminded my brain to remember to switch it back on. Myphone, not my brain.
After the interview, I hit a nearby coffee shop. I turned my mobile on, ordered a cappuccino, perused the national papers for stories of recession and Twitter. And I waited. And I drank more coffee, and I read more news, and I waited. The call never came.
I glanced at my mobile. Then stared at it in an eye-widening frenzy. It was turned off. I turned it back on. It had other ideas. And as you do in these situations, one attempt at turning on the phone is never enough, nor is there a minimal amount of pressure you can apply to the on button. I was attempting to squeeze my finger through the top of my phone, and still the bastard refused to wake up.
I haven’t heard from the station since. I suspect they’re a little upset with me. I’m a little upset with me. Why didn’t I check the battery was charged before I left the house? Why wasn’t I organised? At what point exactly, will I get my shit together for this trip?
The phone had resisted all attempts to be turned on, so I returned home and slumped into my chair to write away the afternoon. There was a brief bedazzling ray of good news mid-afternoon; the absurdly talented Geoff Lloyd at Absolute Radio (formerly Virgin Radio) replied to a comment I’d made on Twitter. Seemed as good a time as any to ask for a cheeky interview on national radio. Yes, in a word. Hooray.
The timing (a live interview in London on Tuesday evening) meant I couldn’t get back to Gateshead for my jabs, so I phoned my local surgery to see if I could re-schedule my appointment.
No, in a word.
When’s the earliest I could get my jabs if I cancelled the appointment, I asked. There was a pause at the other end of the phone, one too long to be comfortable:
“Oh no, you won’t get any jabs during this appointment. It’s a consultation. Then you make an appointment for your jabs.”
“Oh. So if I attend the consultation, how soon could I get my jabs?”
“We’re very busy at the moment… let me check…”
March 12th. Three weeks time. 12 days after I leave.
There’s a positive to take from this, honest. Even if I’d been organised and arranged the consultation on the day I announced Twitchhiker, I still probably wouldn’t have received my jabs in time. Popular consensus seems to be that you need your jabs a month before you travel, rendering the whole exercise pointless anyway. @laradunston believes I can get away without any vaccinations as long as I’m sensible. She may be right, but a) I’d rather not leave it to chance, and b) I’m not sensible.
So here I am. Eight days to go. No jabs. A broken, unreliable phone. Everything to sort out. Too much to do. Why am I doing this again?
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